Markey, Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Call on Obama to Increase Home Energy Assistance Funding in 2013 Budget Request
103 lawmakers sign letter to President urging funding of $4.7 billion for LIHEAP; More than 200,000 MA families rely on life-saving program
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), longtime Congressional champion of providing assistance to low-income families to heat and cool their homes and dean of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, was joined by a bipartisan group of 102 lawmakers in a letter urging President Barack Obama to fund the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) at the FY2011 level of $4.7 billion. Rep. Markey led the letter with Representatives Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), James McGovern (D-Mass.), Peter King (R-N.Y.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.), John Larson (D-Ct.) and Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.). Funding for LIHEAP in FY2012 was cut by 24 percent, to $3.47 billion.
“We understand the fiscal challenges we face as a nation. Nevertheless, we ask that the Administration’s FY2013 budget request for LIHEAP is at least as much as the $4.7 billion provided in FY2011 so that the neediest Americans are not left out in the cold,” write the lawmakers in the letter to President Obama.
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
The LIHEAP program continues to have record-breaking requests for assistance. Last year, LIHEAP provided critical home energy assistance to 8.9 million American households. The number of veteran households served by the program has increased from approximately 700,00 in FY2008 to 1.78 million in FY2011. As many as 9.4 million households are expected to apply for aid nationwide this year. Last year, Massachusetts helped more than 200,000 households through LIHEAP funding, ensuring that families did not have to choose between prescriptions, food and heating during New England’s harsh winter. More than 65,000 Massachusetts families rely on LIHEAP to help pay for delivered fuel.
The Energy Information Agency (EIA) projects average household home heating oil expenditures will increase eight percent and reach record highs this winter. The EIA also forecasts increases of three percent for consumers heating with natural gas and seven percent for those using propane.